iOS 14.5 beta 6 released with new Siri voices & more

The news: Apple’s latest iOS 14.5 beta release makes significant changes to Siri, as first reported by TechCrunch.

  • Siri no longer defaults to female: You’ll have the ability to choose which voice you want on setup
  • There are also two fresh Siri voices that “sound pretty fantastic”
  • iOS 14.5 also includes ‘Mask ID,’ new emojis and more

What’s new?

  • Video showing the new Siri voices
  • New battery recalibration tool for iPhone (via 9to5Mac)

Apple discontinues the original HomePod

The news: In an odd move from the company, Apple has discontinued the original HomePod as first reported by TechCrunch.

  • In a statement, Apple said “HomePod mini has been a hit since its debut last fall, offering customers amazing sound, an intelligent assistant, and smart home control all for just $99. We are focusing our efforts on HomePod mini. We are discontinuing the original HomePod, it will continue to be available while supplies last through the Apple Online Store, Apple Retail Stores, and Apple Authorized Resellers. Apple will provide HomePod customers with software updates and service and support through Apple Care.”
  • HomePod was originally released in February 2018 after numerous delays

Our take: I’ve always seen the HomePod as a good but overpriced speaker, and it’s clear that the market felt the same way. Sure, the sound was impressive, but it was hard to justify so much for a speaker that was significantly more locked down and niche than something like a Sonos One. RIP HomePod.